Sunday, February 17, 2013

Dr. Benjamin Carson's Speech at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast

The speaker at this year's National Prayer Breakfast was Dr. Benjamin Carson, a neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins.   His remarks are getting a lot of attention in the conservative twitterverse, so I thought I'd chip in my own comments.

Here's the text of the speech, and I've embedded a video:

First of all, I've seen a few folks express delight that he takes a stand against political correctness, and its chilling effect on spreading the gospel. Can't argue with that.

I did have a few objections to his comments on tax policy, at least the claim that he was drawing from scriptural principles.  Here's the section from his speech:
When I pick up my Bible, you know what I see? I see the fairest individual in the Universe, God, and he’s given us a system. It’s called tithe. Now we don’t necessarily have to do it 10% but it’s principle. He didn’t say, if your crops fail, don’t give me any tithes. He didn’t say, if you have a bumper crop, give me triple tithes. So there must be something inherently fair about proportionality. You make $10 Billion dollars you put in a Billion. You make $10 you put in $1 – of course, you gotta get rid of the loopholes, but now now some people say, that’s not fair because it doesn’t hurt the guy who made $10 Billion dollars as much as the guy who made $10. Where does it say you have to hurt the guy. He’s just put in a billion in the pot. We don’t need to hurt him.

A number of objections:
  1. Who's out to hurt the billionaire?
    It would be interesting to take, say the top three liberal pundits on the topic (John Stewart, Elizabeth Warren, and Warren Buffet), and see if they are out to get the rich.  I believe the tone I've heard from these folks is the opposite: "the system" helped them more, they should pay more.  Best construction??
  2. Just What is the biblical policy on wealth redistribution?
    The bible did advocate a tithe to the Levites, orphans, and widows.  But only 6% of the federal budget goes to poverty programs.    And exactly what is the scriptural witness on giving to the poor? "Open wide", "Sell all your possessions", "Gave half", "Give to him who asks", "Give your cloak," etc.   Are these to be the bases for federal tax policy? Ask the guy who's starving what's fair, which interpretation would make the Creator the fairest person in the universe.
  3. Are we to end emergency room requirements to take anyone
    Carson expresses delight later in the speech that poor man with diabetes would be put in a financial situation where he would know it would ruin him to go to the emergency room.   The way this would be workable is if emergency rooms were no longer required to just take anyone who shows up. Good Samaritans no more?  Is that a bible principle?

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